Last weekend was the first race on my 2012 season at Roebling Road Raceway. This was the start of my 41st season of racing without missing a year. In fact, I doubt I've gone more that six months without racing since Memorial Day weekend, 1972. I spent Fri. at the track in 80 degree weather setting up my pits, warming up my 350 ERTT Harley Sprint, registering and running through tech. But, I didn't actually practice on the track. I figured the track was the same and my bike was the same and the two sessions Sat. morn before racing would be plenty. My bike was the same, but I had put in new rings and a new 4th gear on the layshaft. When I put the cases back together, I didn't have a Cometic gasket that I usually use, so I used an original Harley gasket which, I realized later, is a good deal thinner. This reduced the end float on the shift drum causing enough drag that the selector didn't want to 're-cock' on downshifts. I didn't want to take the cases apart again, so I hoped things would settle in and maybe the cases would grow when they got hot reducing the drag on the shift drum.
Germain didn't show up Sat., however, as he was convinced by the weather report that we'd be racing in the rain. As his body has gotten a bit beat up over the years, including a broken hand less than a year ago, he decided he wouldn't race in the rain. But, as it turned out, all three of his races were run in the dry before the rains came. So in 350gp, I led overall for about half the race until first Rabbie Demetrius on his 350 Honda, then Dave Crussell on his Kawasaki Bighorn came by from the 2nd wave in F-250. I sort of hung with them for a bit but was out of touch by the time we got the checker. I went back out immediately for the 500 Premiere race. Gridded behind, but in the same wave was Alex McLean on a Norton Manx and Todd Narduzzi on a CB450 Honda based racer in 500GP. I led overall for a couple of laps until Todd came by on the straight.